As noted in the previous essay, it can be argued that the likeness of a dead celebrity is a commodity like any other and thus can be inherited and used as the new owner sees fit. On this view, the likeness of a celebrity would be analogous to their works (such as films or music) and thus its financial exploitation would be no more problematic than the sale of movies featuring actors who are dead. This view can be countered by arguing that there is a morally relevant difference between putting a hologram of a dead celebrity on tour and making money off sales of their music or videos of past concerts. Similar arguments can be made about using the likeness of a dead celebrity in new media, such as in a commercial or movie.
As with any analogy, one way to respond is to find a relevant difference that weakens (or breaks) the analogy. One relevant difference that would seem to weaken the analogy is that the celebrity (presumably) consented to participate in their past works and did not do so regarding the hologram. If the celebrity did not consent to the past works or did consent to being “made into” a hologram, then things would clearly be different. Assuming the celebrity did not agree to the hologram, then their likeness is being “forced” to create new performances without the agreement of the person, which would seem to raise some moral concerns.
Another, more interesting, relevant difference is that the holographic likeness can be seen as a rather simple sort of virtual person. While it obviously lacks any of the qualities required to be a person, this can (and will) be used as the foundation for a moral argument against the creation and exploitation of holograms. Before presenting that argument, I will consider arguments that focus on the actual person that was (or perhaps is) the celebrity.
One approach is to argue that a celebrity still has rights after death and their likeness cannot be used in this manner without their permission. Since they are dead, their permission cannot be given and hence such holograms are morally wrong because they would exploit the likeness of the celebrity without their consent.
But, if the celebrity does not exist after death, then they would seem to have no moral status (since nothing cannot have a moral status) and hence cannot be wronged. Since they no longer exist to have rights, the owner of the likeness is free to exploit it—even with a hologram.
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The obvious problem here is that while people profess belief in various forms of afterlife, there is no definite proof for or against it. As such basing the rights of the dead on their continued existence would require metaphysical speculation of the most dubious sort. On the other side of the coin, denying the dead rights based on the metaphysical assumption they do not exist would also be problematic for it would also require a claim of confidence in a matter of uncertainty. As such, it would be preferable to avoid basing the ethics of the matter on dubious metaphysics.
One approach that does not require that the dead have any moral status of their own is to argue that people should show respect to the person that was by not exploiting their likeness. Making a hologram of a dead person and sending it out to perform without their consent is, as noted in the first essay, a bit like using Animate Dead to raise up a zombie from the remains of a dead person. This is obviously not a good thing to do and, by analogy, animating a zombie of light would seem to also be morally dubious at best. For those who like their analogies free of D&D, one could draw an analogy to desecrating a corpse or gravesite—that even though a dead person can no longer be harmed by harming their corpse or grave, it is still something that should not be done.
A final approach is to build on the idea that while the hologram is clearly not a person, it can be seen as a simplistic virtual person and perhaps this is enough to make this action wrong. I will address this argument in the final essay of the series.